In a presentation to the school board at its Monday, Sept. 21, meeting, Assistant Superintendent of Administrative Services Steve Menge said that, due to a higher ending balance than originally projected from last year’s budget, the district will sit comfortably on a nearly $3 million surplus through the next fiscal year.
If, that is, the state doesn’t spring any unforeseen mid-year budget cuts like the ones that shook the district last year, he said.
“We’re trying to run lean and mean with our budget, so to speak,” Menge said. “We’ve been able to survive thus far because we’ve been conservative with our finances. Hopefully, this same approach will help us survive in the future.”
When the state budget was passed in February and revised in July, unrestricted and restricted funds — the former funded by taxes and used for day-to-day operations, and the latter designated to pay for mandatory state programs — took on very different meanings than before.
Essentially, some previously restricted programs were reclassified as unrestricted in the budget revision, reducing the state’s contribution to the district by about $62,000.
Another way that the state vastly cut funds was by not increasing the amount of money normally given to the district for average daily attendance. The state now gives the district the same amount per student as it did two years ago.
“Theoretically, the state will owe us about $6.6 million in the future,” Menge said. “We may not be getting our funds now, but eventually we will, so that is promising.”
The school board also unanimously approved to allow Sacramento-based Indoor Environmental Services to perform a district-wide energy audit in the near future, a move that should help save on energy costs. The audit will provide energy-efficient suggestions for the district schools to consider, such as upgrading old lighting in classrooms and installing new heating and cooling units set to run only when schools are in session.
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